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Precipice Loop


An adventurous loop with brilliant views using one of the most exhilarating trails in the park.

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1,042' 318 m


127' 39 m


1,072' 327 m


1,071' 327 m



Avg Grade (10°)


Max Grade (28°)

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First of all -WARNING: if you are afraid of heights, you should skip this one - don’t even think about it, seriously! But for those who don’t have a problem literally inching along a precipice, this route combines a fantastic “non-technical” (but still very challenging) climb with a wonderful sense of adventure and great views of Frenchman Bay and the under-appreciated Schoodic Peninsula (another part of the park that’s a bit removed from the main area) to the east. Wait until you reach the path’s summit, however, before you take in the views.


This loop hike climbs up the Precipice Trail from its trailhead off Park Loop Road. At the base of the cliff wall, the trail inches its way up the steep and extremely craggy eastern side of Champlain Mountain; this is undoubtedly the park’s most famous trail and the one that most adventurers want to claim they have done. It has quite a reputation for a path that is less than a mile long.

You should begin your hike at the path’s trailhead, which is located just to the west of the Park Loop Road (there is a parking lot directly across from the start). The trail starts climbing and snaking its way up the mountain from the very beginning. It doesn’t get too steep, however, until after you’ve reached the 0.4-mile point, when the trail intersects with the Orange & Black Path. This will be where you return on the loop to head down the section of the Precipice Trail you just came up.

From this intersection, you'll turn back to the southwest and start climbing approximately 550 feet over the next 0.3 miles. This section contains a number of iron rungs, metal ladders, a series of wooden bridges, and several switchbacks which help you climb and scramble you way up the rugged side of Champlain Mountain. Make sure you have a strong grip and a good sense of balance before you try to negotiate your way up this path. At about 0.7 miles, the trail will become a little more gradual until you reach the end of the path at Champlain Mountain’s summit at 1,058 feet.

Once you’ve summited, do not try to go back down the trail. That would make it extremely difficult for others coming up the path, not to mention, put you in a much more dangerous situation than you were when you climbed up the path. To return to the start, take the Champlain North Ridge Trail northward for another 0.7 miles until it intersects with the Orange & Black Path/Champlain Ridge, which will head south to continue onto the Orange & Black Path. Take this heading south, not east, which will continue back toward the parking lot for another mile.

Overall, this is a highly rewarding loop hike, but one that you must be in good shape to tackle, not to mention free from any fear of heights.


Shared By:

Zander Göpfert

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 39 votes


  4.7 from 39 votes
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in Maine


25 Views Last Month
4,238 Since Jun 30, 2016



Precipice Trail lives up to its name.
May 17, 2016 near Bar Harbor, ME
A view of Frenchman Bay from Champlain Mountain. with permission from Andrew Stehlik
Jun 23, 2016 near Bar Harbor, ME
Atop Champlain Mountain with views of Porcupine Islands in distance.
Jul 29, 2017 near Bar Harbor, ME
One of the final climbs of the Precipice Trail. This is not a trail for the faint of heart!
Nov 4, 2020 near Bar Harbor, ME
Perfect spot for a family photo, it was a perfect day.
Jan 29, 2018 near Bar Harbor, ME
The staple-like rungs of the precipice trail bring you up the steeper sections.
Sep 21, 2019 near Bar Harbor, ME



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Oct 22, 2020
Nikhi Sundar
Oct 15, 2020
Paige Anderson
Lots of people but very beautiful hike — 1h 30m
Oct 9, 2020
Jen Kwok
Oct 9, 2020
Courtney Rae
Oct 7, 2020
Kylie Kuhns
Oct 7, 2020
Allison Rothenbiller
1.4mi — 1h 00m
Oct 5, 2020
Nicole Brainard
AWESOME! So much fun and amazing views. Took longer than expected as loop down was pretty rocky. If short on time would rec beehive over this one.
Sep 29, 2020
Dan Quigley
Precipice trail 2.4mi — 8h 30m